APPLIED TURFGRASS WATER-USE EFFICIENCY/CONSERVATION: AGRONOMIC PRACTICES AND BUILDING COOPERATION BETWEEN INDUSTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND REGULATORY AUTHORITIES
Public perception is turfgrass requires copious amounts of water to persist, regardless of environmental stress. An example is the misconception by uninformed homeowners that lawns need daily irrigation. Additionally with little proof or documentation, the golf course industry is commonly accused by regulators and environmental zealots as "water wasters", despite golf course superintendents being some of the most highly educated water managers in any agronomic or ornamental crop. Because these misperceptions persist and turfgrass serves numerous environmental benefits, it is imperative that the turfgrass industry identify a successful approach and show due diligence in water-use efficiency/conservation. Site-specific development and implementation of Best Management Practices (BMPs) for turfgrass water-use efficiency can reduce the amount of water used by a wide array of turfgrass systems (e.g. golf course, sports field, home lawn, etc.). A BMPs approach integrates a through site assessment, sound agronomic practices for turfgrass management, alternative irrigation water sources, technology, planning for future water needs, employing new scientific research, and continued education. Also, an assessment of costs and benefits must be included. This component of the BMPs concept is necessary not only for facility planning, but to demonstrate to regulatory agencies and critics that substantial effort and cost has been involved in water conservation by the facility. This approach is complex, yet comprehensive and provides the best opportunity to improve water-use efficiency while maintaining quality turfgrass. Furthermore, managers and professional trade associations must work cooperatively with regulatory authorities to develop science-based guidelines for water use. The objectives of this paper are: a) present and discuss educational tools developed to promote a BMPs approach at local and national levels and b) use of a case-study to illustrate the challenges and successes of implementing a BMPs approach to water-use efficiency/conservation in the warm, humid, subtropical climate of Georgia, USA.
Waltz Jr., F.C. and Carrow, R.N. 2008. APPLIED TURFGRASS WATER-USE EFFICIENCY/CONSERVATION: AGRONOMIC PRACTICES AND BUILDING COOPERATION BETWEEN INDUSTRY TRADE ASSOCIATIONS AND REGULATORY AUTHORITIES. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 783:239-246
water conservation, best management practices (BMPs), turfgrass